Businesses want more private investment

Businesses want more private investment

Business Armadale president Paul Harrison. Photograph - Matt Devlin.

Business Armadale president Paul Harrison wants more infrastructure investment in the region to stimulate private investment.

Outlining his election wish list last week, Mr Harrison said big infrastructure projects like the extension of Tonkin Highway, the Armadale train line extension to Byford and Denny Avenue Bridge were all priorities for the region.

He said things like the Armadale line extension and regeneration of Kelmscott could be paid for in part with private investment like housing or commercial developments.

“Why can’t we think out of the box and say private investment,” he said.

“I think we’ve got to think differently, it’s not always about putting it on the shoulders of government.”

He said the Armadale Road Bridge was also a priority but did not believe the Labor Party’s election commitment to pay for it with federal funds currently allocated to the Roe 8 Highway extension would happen.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.

“It won’t be transferrable from the federal government.

“You can see what’s going to happen from a mile away, they’re going to say, ‘oh we can’t get it from Roe 8 so now we don’t have the money because they’re bastards’.”

“At the end of the day I don’t want it to be a hollow promise, it’s got to happen.”

At a Business Armadale forum on Wednesday Member for Armadale Tony Buti said the party would get to spend the federal funds elsewhere.

He said the federal funding component was offered to the state to fill the gap left by its woeful GST share. Dr Buti said he federal government would come under too much fire if they pulled the money.

Payroll tax dominates debate

Payroll tax and infrastructure were topics most hotly discussed at the Business Armadale state election debate on Wednesday morning.

Member for Armadale Tony Buti, Member for Darling Range Tony Simpson and Member for Jandakot Joe Francis spoke about their plan for small business and took questions from the audience at the event.

Payroll tax was identified as one of the biggest inhibitors small businesses face and all three of the politicians agreed something needed to be done.

Mr Simpson said if elected the Liberal Party would up the payroll tax threshold from $850,000 to $900,000 taking effect from January 1, 2018.

“It’s a really interesting tax where the more people you employ the more tax you pay, which is very interesting because you’re actually helping out the economy by employing people,” he said.

Dr Buti said while he didn’t like payroll tax it was here to stay unless there were major tax reforms.

“This isn’t Labor party policy… but one of the solutions is a general based land tax that would have to be brought in over a number of years, 10 to 15 to 20 years,” he said.

“Then you might be able to get rid of payroll tax but until we have a radical tax change like that unfortunately payroll tax is here to stay.”

Infrastructure projects like the Tonkin Highway extension were also discussed with Mr Simpson stating it would soon be placed on the forward estimates.

He said he would start advocating for funding before the next federal election.

Mr Simpson also said there had been complications with the nearby freight rail line and feeder roads onto the future highway which the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale needed to overcome.

Dr Buti said the party had no commitment yet but they were getting ‘closer’.

Mr Francis said he intended to push for further degreulation of trading hours beyond the push for 9am starts on Sundays.

He said he would prefer to rip up trading hours altogether which would create thousands of jobs.

“If a shop owner wants to lose money on 3am they can,” he said.

Examiner Newspapers is a sponsor of Business Armadale.

For more state election stories and candidate profiles click here.